The Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean RoadMost Australians have either driven it, or aspire to drive it. There is something about the Great Ocean Road that strikes a cord deep in the heart of my fellow countrymen.

Maybe because it was built by returning soldiers from WWI between 1919 – 1932, to honour their fallen comrades. Thus making it the world’s largest war memorial. Or maybe because it is Australia’s one entry in the World’s most scenic drives .Or perhaps it is simply because it is a damn fine drive along the coast.

Great Ocean Road
A relaxed James at the start of the Great Ocean Road

And this 243km stretch of Victorian coastal road between Torquay and Allansford in the west is a damn fine drive. We had foolishly thought we would drive it in a day. But we hadn’t factored in how many times we would stop. To walk on a beach, to take a photo, to just admire it, drink it all in and remember it.

If you are like James and enjoy a good lighthouse you can’t go past Cape Otway lighthouse. The drive in is long and winding but that is half the fun!

Great Ocean Road
Cape Otway lighthouse

My favourite part of the drive was seeing the remaining eight of the famous 12 Apostles. And what is left of London Bridge, which is now called London Arch.

Great Ocean Road
The Twelve Apostles, despite 1,000s of tourists and flies, nothing could ruin this view for me.
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The Arch, not on the agenda for the tourist buses!
Great Ocean Road
London Arch formally called London Bridge before the middle bit fell into the ocean in 1990.

Yes, there were roadworks, yes there were droves of tourists at the popular spots, but would we drive it again?  In a heartbeat. Can’t say more than that can you?


Tips for the Great Ocean Road

Don’t think you are going to do it all in a day and see everything. Stay over along the way, and take time to explore.

Do NOT get to the 12 Apostles around 2pm. We made this fatal mistake, it is when all the Melbourne day trip coaches get there. There were as many flies as tourists there. Get there first thing in the morning.

Great Ocean Road
Do as I say, not do as I did…the crowd at the 12 Apostles at 2.30pm

Yes, when we went in summer there were flies galore so wear some insect repellant.

Surprisingly as soon as we left the 12 Apostles we lost the bulk of the tourists. It was just us and a few Aussies that wanted to see London Arch (formally London Bridge), The Arch, Loch Ard Gorge and the Blowhole.

If you can afford it take a helicopter ride and see it all from the air.

It is not part of the Great Ocean Road but further on is the beautiful coastal village of Port Fairy. It is a lovely little sleepy town full of gorgeous old buildings and Griffith island. When we were there in December we watched the spectacle of the Shearwaters (Mutton birds) returning to their nests on the island at dusk (9.30pm). Utterly stunning, a real spectacle of nature.